Entire Russian Hockey Squad Replaced After Testing Positive for Banned Meldonium

More than 15 hockey players from Russia’s national under-18 men’s hockey World Championships roster have tested positive for the banned drug meldonium, the Canadian online sports journal TSN reported Thursday, citing an unidentified source.

The entire 30-man squad of the under-18 team will be replaced by under-17 players for next week’s IIHF World Under-18 Championships in the U.S. city of Grand Forks, North Dakota.

Russia’s first match in the tournament is scheduled to take place on April 14 against the U.S. team.

Head coach Vitaly Prokhorov earlier told R-Sport that the team sent to the championships will also have a new coach.

Russian Hockey Federation (RFH) president Vladislav Tretiak said the squad for the tournament will be made public on Thursday, RIA Novosti reported.

Teams have up until the night before their first game to submit their rosters and can make changes up to two hours before the start of their first game.

Meldonium was included in the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) list of banned substances on Jan. 1, 2016. It instigated a scandal that has to date involved 15 Russian sportsmen including tennis player Maria Sharapova, swimmer Yuliya Yefimova, figure skater Ekaterina Bobrova, skier Pavel Kulizhnikov and others.

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